P0761 – Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates and Modalities in a Large Integrated Health System
*EMBARGOED All research presented at the 2020 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course is strictly embargoed until Monday, October 26, 2020, at 8:00 am EDT.
P0761 Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates and Modalities in a Large Integrated Health System
Author Insight from Anthony Myint, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates drop significantly within a large integrated health system.
This drop was primarily driven by a decrease in screening colonoscopies and in fecal-immunochemical tests (FIT).
We observed a subsequent increase in non-invasive screening utilization 3 weeks after the Surgeon General’s advice to delay non-urgent elective procedures, but this increase was not sufficient to compensate for the drop from pre-pandemic screening rates.
This work highlights the need to further promote non-invasive screening modalities as we work to recover endoscopic capacity and reduce patient hesitancy about colonoscopy.
What do patients need to know?
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to stay up-to-date on routine colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, as CRC continues to be a leading cause of preventable cancer-related mortality in the United States.
While concerns about exposure to COVID-19 are understandable, patients should be aware that there are non-invasive screening methods (such as fecal-immunochemical tests; aka FIT) that can be completed from home.
It is important to understand that a positive non-invasive screening test result warrants a follow-up colonoscopy for closer inspection.
In addition, many health systems have implemented safe standards and pre-procedural COVID-19 testing to limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure during screening colonoscopy.